Football Manager meets Moneyball – season 1 with Rangers

February 25, 2014

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“The new release of the latest installment of the Football Manager franchise has seen a commensurate flurry of pieces about this, to me, hugely gripping and enjoyable game. Now I am not going to turn this blog into one devoted to the game: for one, I think it’s quite dull to blog purely on one aspect of football culture, and I wouldn’t want to risk alienating people who do not enjoy playing it. The pleasure of Football Manager is, for me, largely private, especially given how little interest my girlfriend has in football full stop, let alone a simulation of it, but it did occur to me that it might be interesting to merge an idea that I have enjoyed thinking about with a game I love playing.” Put Niels In Goal – Season 1, season 2 (1st half), season 2 (2nd half), Season 3 (first half)

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Cox: Cheerleading, not chalkboards—the REAL secret of Rafa Benitez’s success

February 25, 2014

“Last Thursday, Napoli travelled to Swansea City and played out a 0-0 draw in the Europa League. It is difficult to judge a first leg goalless draw in European competition: traditionally a draw is a good result for the away side, but a 0-0 leaves them exposed to a score draw in the return match, which would result in their elimination. As such, the reaction to the result varied significantly across the British press.” The Score – Michael Cox


Blackburn Rovers have Unearthed a Gem in Gary Bowyer

February 25, 2014

“When I last wrote of Blackburn Rovers in the autumn, my verdict was overwhelmingly harsh. After all, the imposters who currently own the club are still in place, the wage bill is exalted and the consequences of year upon year of over spending and declining attendances are beginning to bite hard. If there is a club whom Blackburn resemble in their current trajectory, it’s Coventry City, a team that patented the concept of slow decline before their demise became a head on rush into oblivion these past 12 months.” thetwounfortunates


Will the World Cup Return to the Democratic World?

February 25, 2014

“The Brazilians are pissed off and their protests are increasingly directed against the World Cup, and rightly so. Romário explained why: I supported Brazil’s World Cup bid, but even I am against it now. Their main complaint is that a lot of public money is poured into stadiums that many will turn into expensive white elephants. It happened in South Africa, which hosted the World Cup in 2010 and it will happen in Brazil as well. I’m also pretty sure that will happen in Russia and Qatar.” Soccer Issue (Video)


The Real Madrid Resurgence

February 25, 2014

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“Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid side has gone from wounded giant to juggernaut, hunting down a potential treble after a 13-0-2 run in their past 15 La Liga matches. The team’s renaissance is a product of tightening up its defense, allowing only seven goals in its past 12 league matches, after allowing 17 in its first 13. So what has happened in the Real Madrid midfield to bring about this success?” Grantland


Happier, humbler Zlatan leading PSG on all fronts

February 25, 2014

“For once, Zlatan Ibrahimovic played it down with modesty. … To be fair, the Swede could have offered this retort Sunday because the stats would have demonstrated his point: 37 goals in 35 games with PSG this season, the best in Europe. Fourteen goals since the start of 2014; nobody tops that. Forty-six goals in 43 matches for club and country (nine for Sweden in nine games this season); ‎nobody has done more. And 10 goals in the Champions League this season!” ESPN


World Cup: 25 stunning moments … No3: West Germany 1-0 Austria in 1982

February 25, 2014

“You have to pity the youth of today. They were born to banter, they think it’s normal behaviour to tell complete strangers on the internet what they have had for their tea. And worst of all, they have never experienced proper World Cup villainy. There was Luis Suárez’s handball in 2010, yes, but that was a fleeting moment from an individual rather than an extended body of work shared between a whole squad. The World Cup – which is about great stories as much as great football – is so much richer when a team leaves the rest of the football world raging with impotent frustration.” Guardian